SAINT PAUL, Minn.—Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie today unveiled his legislative agenda.
“Minnesota has a reputation for doing elections right,” said Ritchie. “I want Minnesota to continue to be #1 in elections, and I believe my legislative proposals will help to accomplish this.”
Ritchie proposed the following legislation:
Automatic Registration Bill would provide for the automatic voter registration for anyone who has a driver’s license or state ID card and is eligible to vote. Voters should not be forced to fill out yet another form to exercise their right to vote when the government already has the information it needs to determine if someone is eligible. An added bonus is that local governments will realize substantial cost savings due to a reduction in the need to re-enter this data. Hennepin County alone spends over a quarter million dollars after major elections on data entry that would be largely avoided by this system.
The same bill will also allow for Automatic Updates of Voters’ Addresses any time a voter files a change of address with the U.S. Postal Service. Currently voters have to re-register every time they move. This proposal would reduce the bureaucracy involved with moving, shorten lines on Election Day, reduce stress on polling place workers, and save local governments money.
Ritchie’s legislative agenda also includes the following:
Online voter registration
- Expanded opportunities for voting by soldiers serving overseas.
- Study group on ranked voting options, including Instant Runoff Voting
- Expanded options where candidates may file—both at the county and at the secretary of state’s office
- Increasing the size of rural communities given the option of mail balloting
In addition to these proposals on which he is taking the lead, Ritchie is also supporting proposals by legislators that would:
- Allow voters to vote absentee for any reason
- Allow election judges to serve who are not affiliated with a major political party
- Make it easier for Minnesota voters living overseas to participate by moving the primary election from September to sometime earlier in the year
- Expand the options that may be used to prove residency for Election Day Registration
“These proposals will improve Minnesota election administration by making things simpler and less costly” said Ritchie. “I want to thank everyone who provided input to these proposals—we’ve included the ideas of a wide array of stakeholders. I look forward to discussing these proposals with citizens all across the state.”